COVID creeps into next year's race calendar as Balmoral crumbles

Organisers deem it 'too risky to proceed' with planning the Aberdeenshire road and trail races for 2021

Organisers of RunBalmoral have announced that the April event – whose 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic – will not be held in 2021, either.

The next RunBalmoral will now be held over the weekend of 23–24 April 2022.

In a statement, Chair James Knowles said: "It was a tough decision to take. But, there's still so much uncertainty over how the coronavirus might develop over the winter months and how that might lead to a continuation of restrictions on large participation sporting events, that we felt unable to plan ahead with any confidence.”

The ‘significant expenditure’ necessary in preparing for and supplying a race of Balmoral’s size with registration and timing systems, medals, T-shirts and other equipment – well in advance of race day – was a major factor in the committee’s decision. 

As Knowles explained, "We suffered a significant loss this year and simply cannot afford for a similar situation to develop in 2021 as that would put the long-term survival of the event at risk. It would also be unfair on the thousands of runners who support our event every year if we had to cancel once again at short notice.

"Nor do we want to let down our sponsors, who have given us loyal support throughout, or the charities with whom we have worked with so successfully for many years.”

Like other race organisers in a similar position, Knowles stressed that ‘every option’ had been considered to keep RunBalmoral on, including changing the time of year.  But, as he explained, “Unfortunately, that's not an option at Balmoral as the estate isn't available at other times of the year.”

Runners’ reactions to what many called ‘the sad news’ has been sympathetic, with the vast majority ‘totally understanding’ the difficult position organisers found themselves in and looking forward to 2022.

Local clubs also expressed their intention to return to Balmoral in better times: for their part, the Fit Like Joggers promised to be back ‘bigger and stronger in 2022’.  

Runners who have already deferred their entries to 2021 will be offered the option of deferring again, until 2022, or getting a refund.

Image courtesy: Run Balmoral

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